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9-year-old Wisconsin elementary school student saves choking classmate with Heimlich maneuver

A Wisconsin elementary school student saved their classmate who was choking with the Heimlich maneuver. The student learned the life-saving technique through YouTube videos.

A 9-year-old elementary school student in Wisconsin may have saved the life of a classmate by performing the Heimlich maneuver on her as she choked on food, authorities said.

Essie Collier, a fourth grader at Racine’s Fratt Elementary School, noticed one of her classmates was in distress during lunch Tuesday. Students were eating in a classroom because the lunchroom had been cleared out so residents could vote.

"I just saw that she was holding her neck, and I rushed up there as fast as I can," Essie said.

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Teacher Samantha Bradshaw said Essie wrapped her arms around the student and began performing the Heimlich. Her classmate’s airway was cleared, and within seconds the girl was breathing fine.

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"I have never seen a student react in that way before," Bradshaw said.

Essie said that she learned the technique two years earlier from a YouTube instructional video, when she was 7, and that the lesson stayed with her.

The Racine Unified School Board plans to honor Essie at a board meeting in late November for her heroics.

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